Today I’m hosting author Chris Pavesic as part of the blog tour for her new book, Unquiet Dead. Check out the excerpt below.
“You have come far in the Ealdoth Temple in a short time,” Merci said, turning her gaze back to her meal. She stabbed her fork into the roast beef. “Farther than one would credit, given your background. Many have remarked upon your dedication and ambition, and of course your extraordinary singing voice. I wouldn’t be surprised if you became a Hlytere by next year—several years younger than many others have.”
“I thank you, Hlytere Merci.” Catherine struggled to follow along the shifting topics of conversation.
“Oh, it’s not a compliment, child. Not entirely. Although I will admit to being impressed by your ability to keep your voice so clear and pure while growing up in the toxic air of Midden Depths. That in itself is a remarkable feat. No.” She took a small sip of wine. “There is something at work here beyond your own abilities and ambitions. And I am curious to see how it develops.”
“You think someone is helping me by advancing my career in the Temple? I assure you, Hlytere, that I know nothing of this. My family was scarcely affluent. Even if they were still alive, my parents could not have helped me finance—”
“Please be at ease, Catherine.” Merci interrupted the younger woman. “I am not saying you purchased your position in the Temple. I am merely suggesting your rise has been most fortuitous, as if the hand of providence guided you or created situations that allowed your abilities to shine above others. I have studied your career. Every time something developed that would lead to advancement in the Temple, you stood at the forefront—the best candidate to fulfill the task. Even now, with the mission I have to assign, you are far and beyond the best choice.”
“In what way, Hlytere?”
“I need a Sacerd, one who is a bard and is trained in playing the harp. I need someone who has never been presented at the Seelie court.” Merci glanced at her over the rim of her glass, her eyes narrowed. “I believe you fit each category and have the best chance to succeed.”
“Yes,” Catherine replied, a bit flustered. “I have studied the harp quite extensively. And I have never been to the court.”
“See? The best choice. No other Sacerd has all of the qualities needed.” Merci sighed. “It is as if the Goddess herself has chosen you—guided you.”
Catherine stared at the older woman. Early in her life she had to learn to notice things, to read the truth people hid behind their words, or she would have never survived in Midden Depths. She bent her head, barricading her mind against the web of compliments Merci had been weaving. “May I speak plainly, Hlytere Merci?”
“Of course.” The older woman waved her hand, giving permission.
Catherine took a deep breath. “You are lying.”
About Unquiet Dead:
In Chiaroscuro it’s important to keep the faith.
When the Temples north of Chiaroscuro are burned and followers of the Sun Goddess are murdered, Catherine, a bard of the Ealdoth Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed.
So saddle up your clockwork mount, buckle on your electro-dagger, and join Catherine as she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogues members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead.
Genres: Steampunk, Mystery, Dark Fantasy
Learn More About Unquiet Dead:
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